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New York Becomes Second State to Implement Net Neutrality

New York Becomes Second State to Implement Net Neutrality

This week, Andrew Cuomo, the governor of the state of New York, signed an executive order (read the full contents here) that mandates every state agency in the Empire State from now on to only do business with web service providers that abide by net neutrality regulations. In other words, if an ISP wants to land a contract with the New York government, it needs to treat all kinds of web traffic fairly and equally. 

As stated by Cuomo, Internet service providers who want to sign contracts with state agencies must not block, throttle, or give a higher priority to any web content or Internet app. Also, these ISPs are barred from requiring consumers to pay varying or more expensive rates in order to gain access to certain types of Internet content or apps. 

Earlier this week, Montana had become the first state in America ever to enforce net neutrality rules. Steve Bullock, the Democratic Governor of the Treasure State had signed an executive order similar to what Cuomo had signed last Wednesday. The move by Cuomo meant that New York now becomes the second state in the country to adopt net neutrality principles as its policy.

So far, Montana and New York are the only states to implement net neutrality after the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) had voted 3-2 last month to overhaul the net neutrality rules adopted in 2015, during the administration of then President Barack Obama. The FCC also voted to dissolve the legal basis that enables the agency itself to regulate web service providers in the United States.

While various advocacy groups and tech companies have lauded the implementation of the 2015 net neutrality rules, Internet service providers, including wireless carriers and cable companies, were critical of the move, claiming that the decision would have stifled innovation and investment in the broadband industry. Even in Capitol Hill, the debate is as relevant as ever, with Democrats mostly supporting the 2015 ruling, while Republicans appearing to favor the repeal of the net neutrality rules more.

A week ago, attorneys general from 22 states across the country, including New York, had filed a lawsuit in order to block the repeal of the 2015 net neutrality rules. The recent signings of executive orders in Montana and New York may also have an influence, especially in urging other states in America to do the same. But as they say, the battle is far from over.